MATT CROSS insists dealing with the ramifications of Monday’s report into Cricket Scotland doesn’t excuse Scotland’s heavy defeat to New Zealand in the opening T20 contest of the series.

Shane Burger’s men lined up against the Black Caps at the Grange on Wednesday just two days after the findings of the seven-month review that arrived at the conclusion that the governing body was institutionally racist.

Cross revealed the players spoke about the report with interim chief executive Gordon Arthur ahead of the match that they went on to lose by 68 runs.

But the wicket-keeper felt the seismic off-field events had played no part in the team’s performance against one of the world’s leading sides.

“The timing of the review wasn’t ideal,” he said. “It’s made the week a lot tougher and feel a lot longer. It might not feel like it now but it’s a chance for us to improve the sport and have a better standing across all communities.

“We had a chat with Gordon Arthur about it before the game and the SCA [Scottish Cricketers Association] put out a statement from the players offering our support and condemning what’s happened in the past.

“But what’s been going on in the background doesn’t excuse the result. It’s our job to park everything that happens off the field. I’d understand but would be disappointed if guys felt it had affected our performance. It certainly wasn’t in my head when I was out there.”

Cricket Scotland have now begun the process of rebuilding and Cross says the players are keen to play their part. The Aberdeenshire batter, however, hoped that the first-team dressing room was already an inclusive place, with Asian players Hamza Tahir and Safyaan Sharif key figures in the squad.

“The report wasn’t a huge surprise as there was a feeling beforehand that it wasn’t going to be good,” he admitted. “As players what we can do is support the review and get behind it. We’re waiting on guidance from Cricket Scotland on what we can do specifically to help.

“But I’d be disappointed if anyone felt our dressing room wasn’t an inclusive place. We’ve always been open as a group of players and there’s been a good environment. Saf and Hamza have been a big part of our squad for a while and I’d like to think they feel like we’ve got their backs. It’s been a tough time for them too and it’s about trying to support them the best we can.”

Scotland will try to level the two-match series against New Zealand this afternoon ahead of Sunday’s solitary one-day international. And Cross acknowledged they would need to cut out the basic errors that marred Wednesday’s performance.

“We know we’ve got to do better going into this second game. We bowled three or four no balls the other day and at the top level that’s just not good enough. We need to be better in every department if we’re to level the series.”